What Does Arthritis In The Knee Feel Like?
Arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the joints. Ankle arthritis typically requires an injury to start the chain of events that lead to ankle arthritis. Knee arthritis can simply develop the disease over time. Given no precipitating event needs to occur, and it usually onsets gradually over time, it’s sometimes difficult to recognise the signs and symptoms of Arthritis. People can suffer from pain that they incorrectly attribute to general old age. If diagnosed and managed correctly, it can drastically improve function and quality of life.
Some signs your knee pain may be Arthritis are:
- Swelling after activity – Your knee may appear puffy or be harder to bend. It may feel ‘full’. The knee swelling is being produced by inflammation. Other classic signs of inflammation to look for are redness, warmth and pain around the joint line.
- Morning stiffness – Your knee doesn’t tolerate periods of inactivity as well as it used to. This is most noticeable in the morning after sleep but improves with movement.
- Achy pain – Arthritic pain is most commonly described as achy. Sometimes it is broad and encompasses the entire knee. Other times it affects only one knee compartment, most commonly the inside compartment and thus produces pain only on the inside.
- Clicking or popping sounds – In the later stages of the disease, Arthritis causes the cartilage surfaces to roughen. This can produce clicking or popping sounds in the knee. It’s important to note that some knee sounds are normal. Your physiotherapist can help you decide what knee sounds are of concern.
- Giving away or locking – Your knee may occasionally buckle when you put weight on it, especially when using stairs. It might also become stuck in a bent position for short periods. Bumpy cartilage surfaces may be stopping the joint from gliding smoothly, or pain might be inhibiting your ability to use your muscles efficiently.
Understanding what’s going on in your knee will inevitably lead to better management. Much research has focused on improving function and avoiding surgery for knee arthritis, and these protocols have demonstrated excellent results. Whilst a diagnosis of Arthritis may sound daunting, all it means is you now have a ‘why’ for the pain and an opportunity to do something about it.
So please don’t delay in seeing your knee physiotherapist for their opinion on your knee pain.